Kid2 graduates from public school next week. She’s had a pretty good run with the expected rough patches but overall I think she’s leaving it behind with much less residual angst and awkward than I did. I’m going to go ahead and take some credit for that, plus she has gone to a really great school.
We were recently talking as I was writing thank you notes – people had been extremely generous to me for my birthday. Kid2 commented that I seem to like writing, and asked if I always did, even long, long ago when I was her age (she had the grace to smirk when she said that).
I had to think but then realized, yep I’ve always liked writing. Always captured moments or expressed gratitude and vented with pen in hand. I told her I’ve written since before I was her age, and that I had proof. I then went and dug out my public school diary and looked up entries for this week, 33 years ago. I have to admit I winced, cringed, and at times smiled softsadly to myself.
The major accomplishments of Grade 8 were listed in an entry dated June 25th. I had made it to the science fair, made the soccer team, and seemed proud of my grade in math (which was a “C”)… I itemized track results (mostly distance running), and had danced with a boy for the first time. As I flipped through the pages, I first felt mortified for my childish perspective then sad as it seemed I never felt confident in anything I was doing. I also had to admit I hadn’t always written what was in my heart, the diary contains an edited version of what I was living. Sometimes I had gone back and added postscripts like “I wasn’t glad he dumped me, I just wrote that to try to be brave” or “I wrote this for your benefit, Sister” as privacy wasn’t a guarantee in our house growing up.
Either way, the gift of peering back into my 13-year old psyche makes the diary precious to me. It seems I’ve always loved language – I used words like “betwixt” and “mayhap,” and swore like a sailor in many entries. It also seems certain things that mattered back then still matter today, like books I’d read, our pets and their adventures, and things I saw or read that inspired me. Finally, I love what the diary shows me most clearly, which in contrast to my tween self, I’m finally comfortable owning the choices I make.
As kid2 breezes out of public school, I think the best I can do is tell her to do as I did, 33 years ago, and see what comes next as a grand adventure, one worthy of coloured markers and captured memories. Wowzers indeed.